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Source: Goal.com



Sir Alex Ferguson believes that Chelsea have a ‘big advantage’ over Manchester United heading into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Stamford Bridge.

The Red Devils travel to London in the hope of all but securing their 10th Premier League crown, a feat that would take them just one shy of Liverpool’s record 18 top-flight titles.

Chelsea will have had an extra day’s rest following their Champions League semi-final leg at Liverpool on Tuesday, United having played on Wednesday in Barcelona.

And Ferguson is convinced his team have not been given equal opportunity this weekend, and has slammed the broadcasting agreement between Sky and the Premier League as the cause of scheduling problems.

Not Fair

''The fixture is not fair in terms of its timing,” he said. “Chelsea's game was on Tuesday so they have had four days to get themselves ready, which is a big advantage, there is no question about that.

“It is not fair, but what can you do? If you shake hands with the devil you can't complain. Football did a deal with television and the game is subject to television's control nowadays.

“But we are suffering because of that. Chelsea have had four days' rest and we have had two and a half. That extra day makes a hell of a difference.

“All we have been able to do is rest the players. We stayed overnight in Barcelona, then we had a light training session at Barcelona's training ground.

“Being in the sun and having a day relaxing is probably the best thing we could have done. But it's not fair.

“It happened to us last year after the semi-final with AC Milan, when we had to play Manchester City on the Saturday lunchtime straight afterwards. We complained but they wouldn't listen to us.

“There's nothing we can do about it so we just have to get on with it.”

Intense Pressure

Ferguson’s ire no doubt stems from the immense importance of the clash, which could essentially close or blast open the title race.

United currently hold a three-point lead and a vastly superior goal difference, meaning victory today would essentially secure them their second consecutive Premier League title.

However, defeat would see Chelsea draw level on points, meaning the Red Devils would have to win their remaining matches against West Ham (home) and Wigan (away) to be sure of claiming victory.

And Blues boss Avram Grant believes United have a real test on their hands, pointing to their inability to seal the deal in recent matches, and is confident of Chelsea’s chances.

“We are in a position that, if we win against them, anything can happen,” said Grant. “We have to make sure we win first.

“It will be very difficult to do it, but anything is possible. You can see what has happened in the last few games. It shows it's not easy to play under pressure. They [United] have drawn twice [against Middlesbrough and Blackburn] because we've put this pressure on them.

“I'm optimistic by nature. We need to do our job, and that won't be easy, but I'm optimistic. If we win we'll be very happy, and I think we would be happy at the end of the season too.”

Unbelievable Record

Chelsea have not been beaten at home in 80 league matches, an English record that stretches back to 2004 when current Juventus manager Claudio Ranieri was in charge at Stamford Bridge.

And while Ferguson is appreciative of such an achievement, he insists that records are made to be broken, in this case perhaps sooner rather than later.

“It is an unbelievable record and one that they should be proud of,” the Scot said. “But somewhere along the line someone is going to beat them.

“Life is like that and hopefully we can do it. But it won't be easy. They're strong, powerful and experienced, and never at any time this season have I dismissed them.

“They don't make it easy for anyone.”
 

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Its a bad fixture pile up but we just have to get on with it simple as that barcelona have to play this weekend aswell so it is fair.
 

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Actually, Chelsea were the ones to have to play two midweek games recently and
then go away to 'pile and now at home to us!

Thats a bliddy tough run! Eh?

Fergie's experienced enough to pass on to the players how they should cope with
the remaining few weeks.

It will be tough on them, but that's the sort of pressure the top teams are under.

As faz says, we just have to get on with it (or the players rather) and hope we
will have two nice big shiny silver trophies in the museum next season! ;)
 

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Keano! said:
Actually, Chelsea were the ones to have to play two midweek games recently and
then go away to 'pile and now at home to us!

Thats a bliddy tough run! Eh?

Fergie's experienced enough to pass on to the players how they should cope with
the remaining few weeks.

It will be tough on them, but that's the sort of pressure the top teams are under.

As faz says, we just have to get on with it (or the players rather) and hope we
will have two nice big shiny silver trophies in the museum next season! ;)

spoken by a man yes a man he became a man when he made his 1000 post well done my son
 

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The 2 games in weekend gave chelsea a huge advantages over Liverpool as well... Go compared... you have a bigger pic of what I'm say...
They rested like 5days before they play Liverpool... and now one more day then us...
And we will be playin Barcelona on wed... Another day short of for them to play chelsea...
 

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Sounds like Fergie is contiuning his siege mentality policy. He's knows fine well his players will be fine and up for it. Its a bit of mind games in the run up to a big game something which he always does.
 

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What are these mind games, do other managers really worry about what Sir Alex or another manager has said. When Mourinho was coming out with all his nonsense did it affect us or the team, I don't think so.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
marty davidson said:
u after to get on wit it this is the reason you need a big squad for
Precisely, I don't see what's fuss about when both United & Chelsea possessed an extremely strongth depth in terms of squad quality.
 

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united and chelsea do have a tight schedule but both of us have depth in the squad too....so nothing much to worry about....we just have to play the best we can with the team which is put out and win the whole thing!!!
 

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fazman said:
Its a bad fixture pile up but we just have to get on with it simple as that barcelona have to play this weekend aswell so it is fair.
Fergie is just moaning again cos its his job to moan......
but if you look at Barca and Pool who will rest ALL their good players.....
now THAT is a disgrace and it gets on my wick big time.

Brum were always going to get a result aginst Pool.
How was that fair to the likes of Reading and Bolton?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Jazz 16 said:
Fergie is just moaning again cos its his job to moan......
but if you look at Barca and Pool who will rest ALL their good players.....
now THAT is a disgrace and it gets on my wick big time.

Brum were always going to get a result aginst Pool.
How was that fair to the likes of Reading and Bolton?
^Ditto! Liverpool rested some of their key players in the match away at Birmingham today when Rafa knows that his Liverpool side will be playing Chelsea four days later in the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final tie. And Birmingham clearly enjoy that luxury of playing against a second-string Liverpool side as they emerged victorious 2-0. Totally unjust to both Reading & Bolton Wanderers as that is one of the many different factors which could have a major impact on the relegation drop battle.
 

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red_devils4life said:
^Liverpool side as they emerged victorious 2-0. Totally unjust to both Reading & Bolton Wanderers as that is one of the many different factors which could have a major impact on the relegation drop battle.
It actually finished 2-2 in the end but Pool were their usual lucky selves.
I just think its wrong for the teams at the bottom getting shafted like this.
The price of promotion/relegation from the premier league is about £60 million,
and that is huge for these teams. Teams can then go into administration and
cease to exist over things like this. Disgusts me.
 

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I thought this as well it benefites them both ways as they had 4 days between Liverpool and us and then 4 days until the next match whereas we have had 3, totally unfair and maybe cost us with a goal late in time we may of become a bit lacklustre.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Jazz 16 said:
It actually finished 2-2 in the end but Pool were their usual lucky selves.
I just think its wrong for the teams at the bottom getting shafted like this.
The price of promotion/relegation from the premier league is about £60 million,
and that is huge for these teams. Teams can then go into administration and
cease to exist over things like this. Disgusts me.
Sorry but I didn't managed to catch the game. My results were purely based on the comments by some of the members in the shoutbox over an hour ago. Anyway, back to the main topic...I agree totally with what you has said. earlier on.

Take Leeds United as a perfect example. Only seven years ago they were involved in the very same tournament that the 'Big Four' are now dominating. And while many will blame, to an extent rightly so, financial mismanagement for the cash crisis that enveloped Elland Road eventually, it also goes to show how big a part in footballing success money now plays.

The millions of pounds being earned by United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea every year, just for qualifying for the Champions League group stages, is in stark contrast to the current situation in the rest of the divisions, and even in the rest of the top flight itself.

The decision of the top clubs to play weakened teams in matches critical to the relegation issue condemns other relegation-threatened teams to the drop from the Premiership. The powerhouses decide their own priorities and what’s best for themselves and select their teams accordingly so as to keep their star players fresh for the important European fixtures.

Are they even aware of the resulting serious consequences when a team actually got relegated? They prefer to concentrate on the Champions League games as they have nothing to play for in the league & domestic cup competitions.

When I very first started to watch football every team set out to win every games there's available to win. The best players were always selected by the managers and the strongest team appeared for every game. The case that it's not now, simply disgusts me! Relegation is hard enough to take but to know that another club greatly influenced the final outcome must be even more sickening.

In a previous era clubs who fielded weakened teams were fined but the authorities are turning a blind eye to this present situation. No longer are the ‘big’ clubs just able to control events at the top of the Premiership table but by sending out weakened teams they are determining who is relegated as well. Is there no end to their power and influence?
 
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